Details slip by at hectic times (one more exam to go). I failed to mention that I turned eighteen in May; I'm now legally an adult. But it's less of of the legal and more of the psychological advantages that I am continuing to enjoy.
The date was ushered in with plenty of (thrifty) pomp and champagne. It involved an afternoon tea the previous weekend, a gin and tonic at the pub on the day, and an extraordinary surprise from two very dear friends that evening. I had returned from the hill up the road, sated with the beauty of the just-experienced bluebell wood. Our family had once again enacted the rite of passage marking off each year that passes, scrambling across fields and barbed wire to greet trees and flowers. All four of us became the scenery caught between the crisp green underfoot and bright canopy above. My brother disappeared along the nearest high branch while my mum sat with her back against a trunk; my dad skulking through the patches of light in search of the perfect photo. I stood and watched and listened.
When we left, I tried to snatch something of the wood’s calmness and carry it back home. I guess it could be said that our living room echoed the light and space, but only in that it was tidier than usual. As I fiddled with books and considered what to do next, I heard a knock on the door, but hardly looked up. Then I registered the clack of heels and familiar voices. It was the effervescent, ever-fantastic Flo and her boyfriend. I had a strange moment of disconnection, not quite sure how they could be in our hall when I knew they should be in Manchester. I couldn’t take it in. They later observed that my face had been priceless, recognition turning to pure shock as I squealed.
I've always wanted to be surprised. It’s one of those strange wishes that you can’t request because it is ruined in the act of asking. But those two managed it with elegance. They arrived in gorgeous outfits, bearing goodies and the prospect of great conversation. We raised glasses, talked, tilted our faces to the summer twilight and later raided the fridge for midnight cheese-and-crackers feasting. It was an evening of superlatives. Words like ‘amazing’ and ‘glorious’ and ‘unbelievable’ capture something of how it felt, but not the total joy. It was an affirmation of friendship, gratitude and the giddy delight of the good things in life.
I wore this vintage dress (bought from the Soho Bang Bang) on my birthday. I love the multitudes of flowers. Thanks to my dad for snapping the shots.
In other news, if you haven't done so already, head over to Bella's blog Citizen Rosebud to see Part 1 and Part 2 of Bella's new blog feature: a '20 on +40' interview I did with Mel from A Bag and a Beret. It's a brilliant idea and between Bella's exuberant spirit and Mel's Cindy Sherman-esque creative escapades, it was both enlightening and huge fun to be involved. I particularly enjoyed Mel's inventive questions which saw me describing what I'd make from found materials to wear to a woodland ball.